Can Cost of Governance be Reduced Further?

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Many citizens believe the governance structure in Nigeria is top-heavy, with the bulk of the emoluments going to the topmost five per cent of the personnel in government employ, and also the legislators in the National Assembly, who have appropriated a hefty slice of the overall budget. Compared to several nations which are even developed than Nigeria, the cost of governance here is seen as wasteful, despite plugging of some loopholes. To you, how can the cost of governance be reduced to ensure effective growth and development?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* A decisive downward review of the remuneration packages, perquisites of public officers, and elimination of bloated and white elephant projects; downsizing of serving Ministers, Legislatures and Special Assistants would help us save money for capital projects e.t.c.

Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State

* I’ll add another one: should the cost of governance be lowered? To both queries it’s a resounding Yes! Former US president Bill Clinton, who exhibited friendship to Nigeria while in office, ran a lean government as president and ended up a prudent leader. We have just heard that the government is about announcing a budget of N8.6 trillion for 2018 – I shan’t shout Uhuru until I hear that more than half of that sum will be devoted to capital expenditure. The cost of governance in Nigeria should go down and soon.

Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja

* So sad, unless the country is restructured – devolution of power is done and Senate abolished, people go to bed hungry, poor health – educational facilities, roads etc., yet our National Assembly, governors, ministers etc., are daily busy enriching themselves in anticipation of 2019 power tussle, through wardrobe allowances, budget allocations, Paris Club pay released for payments of salaries and gratuities, selected investigating cases of corruption.

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna

* Everything boils back down to corruption. Behind every high cost of governance, there is intent to steal, appropriate or skim money in one form or the other. A return to accountable governance at all levels of government would help. Transparency in government dealings would also serve as a preventive tool. Nigeria as a nation has ample laws designed to reduce corruption as well as the cost of governance, but the problem is always failure to enforce our laws. The reason people in the developed world obey their laws is because their laws are enforced. There is nothing wrong with the current laws, some of which we inherited from the UK. The difference is in enforcement. The greatest challenge we have is the people.

Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Due to over-concentration of power at the federal level, the governance structure in Nigeria is top-heavy, cornering most of the emoluments to the select few in our elitist federal work-force. House members have criminally appropriated hefty slices of the overall budget for their selfish aggrandizement. Government must reform our laws and policies to favour the masses too. Corrupt House members must be brought to book irrespective of whose ox is gored.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* Cost of governance can be reduced further to ensure effective growth by reducing the number of our representatives in the National Assembly and State Assemblies. From the President down to State Commissioners, they should not have fixed salaries but instead sitting allowances to discourage those who kill to be there. It is sad what our leaders have become today as monies meant for development are diverted. There is talk of a Senator who has over ten expensive Jeeps in just one house, with houses in other state capitals. If these people are denied those fat salaries and benefits, billions would be saved for proper development. This is worth trying.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* l believe Nigeria is operating the most expensive democracy in the world and we must scrap some agencies to reduce cost of governance. The National Assembly arms should be merged for legislative work to cut cost. Some government sectors are conduit pipes to waste government money meant for meaningful projects and must be scrapped or merged together. We must cut cost of governance to move Nigeria forward; enough is enough for the wastage of government funds.

Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* Yes it can. Nigerians honestly believe our current governance structure is grossly top-heavy, with bulk of the emoluments selfishly going to the topmost five per cent of the personnel in government employ. Legislators in the House have unjustly cornered hefty chunks of our overall budget thereby bloating governance cost. Several and even more developed other nations avoid wastages and even block all existing loopholes against looting etc. There’s vast room for rethink and improvement; no to padding, arbitrary borrowing e.t.c, or go to jail.

Mr. Apeji Onesi. Lagos

* With over-bloated bureaucracies involving the Federal Government, 36 state and 774 local governments, the cost of running democratic government in Nigeria is too high and this has hindered growth and development. Yes, in the short time, it can be possible to prune the growing cost of running public affairs by the legislators in the National Assembly and Governors. Firstly, the masses must see governance as a service and make some laws that will govern the appointments of aides; make the legislators part time, reduce the structure that enables them to have aides, make the different positions less lucrative, changing different positions to ensure effective growth and transparency, improving accountability, and reducing the administrative positions and line of authority which can be replaced by civil servants or traditional rulers. Ministerial slots from each state should be reduced, while highly-successful business people should be appointed.

Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Abuja

* Surely, the cost of governance can be reduced especially in the size of allowances and estacodes for the legislators and the top executives. If Nigeria is serious, there is no reason why the salaries and allowances of the leaders should not be slashed in half, just as was done in Kenya recently. Leaders must lead by example in prudent spending so Nigeria can save for the rainy day. Also, states must be encouraged to generate more internal revenue so that most proceeds from oil sales to the federation account can be set aside for core development projects and the rest saved. It is very hard to fathom how a representative of the people can cruise around in luxurious vehicles while the electorate who voted him or her into power are searching for scraps to eat and survive. That is the quickest way to revolution!

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

THE RESPONSE

Yes, it can: 7

No, it cannot: 0

Others: 3

Radical tip: Slash allowances!

Total no of respondents: 10

Male: 8

Female: 2

Highest location: Lagos (4)

Next Week: Can Plea Bargain Help Check Corruption?

Since the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, only two high-profile corruption cases have led to convictions and sentencing. However, there is a belief that plea bargain, which is still a reduced sentence that involves conviction and in some cases shorter jail sentences, should be adopted in criminal proceedings especially for top corruption cases to improve loot recovery. In your view, can plea bargaining help secure the convictions that the criminal justice system has failed to secure?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (October 26 & Monday, October 30) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, November 2